Vikings interested in Harris but LB will visit Lions

October 14th, 2008 – 8:56 PM by Judd Zulgad

Earlier today we reported the Vikings had not expressed interest in linebacker Napoleon Harris, who was released by Kansas City. But it appears that has changed. People with knowledge of the situation say there were talks between the Vikings and Harris’ representatives at some point. But that does not mean Harris is going to end up back in Minnesota.

In fact, his first visit is going to be with the Detroit Lions. The Vikings, of course, beat the Lions on Sunday at the Metrodome.

Harris is coming off what could be termed a very bad experience in Kansas City. Harris had a productive 2006 season with the Vikings then signed a six-year, $24 million deal with the Chiefs that included $7.5 million in guarantees. Harris’ stats were fine last year, he had a career-high 116 tackles, but he wasn’t believed to be happy playing for a Kansas City team that finished 4-12.

Things only got worse this season for Harris. About halfway into training camp he found himself on the bench and he never got back into the good graces of coach Herm Edwards. Harris did have a bit of a knee problem late in camp and early in the regular season but that was only part of the reason he was no longer playing. Harris had yet to play in a game this year and has been perfectly healthy the past few weeks.

The Vikings, though, can’t be blamed for having interest in Harris. E.J. Henderson, who replaced Harris as the Vikings’ middle linebacker in 2007, is out for the season after having surgery for dislocated toes he suffered in Week 4 at Tennessee. David Herron, who replaced Henderson, suffered an ankle and what appeared to be head or neck injury last Sunday against the Lions and his status is uncertain.

On Sunday, the Vikings were forced to use Vinny Ciurciu at middle linebacker. Ciurciu is considered more of a special teams player. Minnesota did add some depth on Monday by signing Dontarrious Thomas, who had left the Vikings after last season to sign a free-agent deal with the 49ers. Thomas was cut by San Francisco before the season. Right now, there is a chance he could start on Sunday against the Bears. Herron, appearing on KFAN Radio today, said he expects to play on Sunday as well.

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